Prior to Wednesday’s featured event for three-year-olds going a flat mile at Gulfstream Park, the appearance of graded stakes winners Ete Indien and Sole Volante were billed as preps for the Haskell Stakes and Belmont Stakes, respectively.
After the race won by Sole Volante, given a great setup created by a hot-paced duel between his stablemate and the talented, speedy Shivaree, something changed.
The newly blinkered Ete Indien was dueled into submission but remains on the path to Eatontown, New Jersey. I’m betting on another equipment change: Blinkers off, they served their prep purpose.
Alternatively, trainer Patrick Biancone suggested post race that he may not want to go that far north on 95 with Sole Volante and could opt for Lexington instead of Elmont.
Majority owner Dean Reeves wants to go to New York but would defer depending on Biancone’s input. The trainer has to be concerned with the quick turnaround. The Belmont is nine furlongs and nine days hence; the Blue Grass is July 11.
“When we learned Maxfield got hurt, the thinking changed,” said stable manager Jay Stone, who, as agent, bought a majority share in Sole Volante for Dean and Patti Reeves after the Mucho Macho Man Stakes. “Right now it’s a jump ball.”
Either way, Sole Volante should be suited by the race flow. The one-turn Belmont features a long sprint down the backstretch which assures at minimum honest fractions. Two turns works equally well, as his Sam F Davis victory attests.
“In New York, Sole Volante would be 6-1, in Kentucky he’d be 5-2,” added Stone. “Spacing is a consideration but Luca [Panici] left something in the tank when he thought he had the race won. It depends on the horse but ultimately it will be Dean’s decision.”
At this posting, we’re thinking parlay: Blinkers off in New Jersey; no Tiz the Law in New York.
War of Attrition
Nadal. Charlatan. Maxfield. Wells Bayou. And I’m sure I’m missing one or two other would-be three-year-old champions.
And here we are, nine days out from the Belmont, the first leg of the Triple Crown, a series that will stretch from June 20 to October 3, and I’m wondering how many more side-liners? I pray none.
I’m also thinking what if the 2020 Triple Crown had been the traditional five-week first Saturday-in-May to first Saturday-in-June series, what might the rate of attrition been then?
Condylar fractures, bone bruises, who needs them? Certainly not a sport that is enjoying something of a renaissance because team sports are returning slowly and how much Amazon Prime or Netflix can a sports fan watch?
Needed: Racing Film Festival on TV
Why can’t I watch ‘Seabiscuit‘ if I wanted, or ‘Boots Malone‘, or ‘Casey’s Shadow‘, or the even the popular if overrated ‘Let It Ride‘, with those glorious scenes in and around Hialeah.
God forbid there should be great racing movies of consequence, combining grit and historical accuracy:
‘The Cup‘, with the great Brendan Gleeson as the great Irish horseman, Dermot Weld, or ‘Phar Lap‘, in which the Chairman of the Australian Jockey Club utters the words–possibly for the first time on film–“weight can stop a train!”
Or, while it’s not a horse racing movie per se, who can forget the final scene from Stanley Kubrick’s film noir classic, “The Killing,” when a ton of money can be lost after making a score at the racetrack.
Hey Mr. Gary Barber, you must know some people, right? Why not make a phone call or two?